The Sun Also Rises: Novel Summary: Book I – Chapters V – VII

Chapter V
The chapter opens with Jake walking to work in Paris, noticing the people around him. He spends the morning in the news office, and then attends a news conference. He shares a taxi with some other journalists on the way back to his residence, and they (Woolsey and Krum) ask him about his social life. When Jake arrives at his office, he finds Cohn waiting for him, and they go to lunch together. Jake asks Cohn about the progress of his second book, and Cohn admits that it is not going well. Jake asks about Cohns plans to go to South America, and Cohn says that his connection with Frances prevents it. Then Cohn brings up Brett. Cohn asks what Jake knows about Brett, and Jake shares that Brett is getting a divorce and plans to marry a man named Mike Campbell. Cohn admits that he thinks he might be in love with her. Jake reiterates that she appears to be in love with Mike, and Cohn says that she doesnt look like someone who could get married without being in love. Jake says that shes done it twice, and Cohn becomes offended. He tells Jake that he has insulted Brett, and Jake tells Cohn to go to hell. Cohn stands up in the restaurant, ready to fight Jake. Cohn demands that Jake take back his insult, which he does, and then Cohn sits down. Cohn says that although Jake says unpleasant things, Jake is his best friend. Jake changes the subject and keeps it changed, despite Cohns desire to talk about Brett, and then Jake leaves Cohn to return to work.
Chapter VI
This chapter opens with Jake waiting at the Crillon for Brett. She doesnt show, so Jake has a drink with the bartender. He leaves, and takes a dull taxi ride across Paris to the Caf Select, where he finds Harvey Stone. Stone appears to be an old literary friend, and one of Stones first comments is that he has not eaten for five days. Jake gives him some money. Jake asks if Stone knows H. L. Mencken, a famous contemporary author and man of letters that Jake had been thinking about in relation to Cohn. Stone says he does know Mencken, and shares a brief anecdote about him.
Cohn arrives, and Stone calls him a moron, first before Cohn can hear, and then in front of him. Cohn gets angry, and Stone asks what Cohn would rather be doing besides writing. Cohn mentions playing football. Stone calls him a case of “arrested development.” Cohn threatens to pummel Stone, and Stone says that it wouldnt matter, and that Cohn doesnt realize that it wouldnt matter. Eventually, Jake interrupts and tries to change the conversation. Stone leaves to find food. Cohn says that he doesnt like Stone, but Jake defends him.
To change the subject, Jake asks about Cohns writing, and Cohn says that he is still having trouble. Then Jake steps back from the narrative for a second, and says that he might not be doing a good job describing Cohn. He says that much of Cohns sureness from his trip to New York had disappeared. He tries to describe Cohn again, saying that much of the reason for the difficulty describing Cohn comes from the fact that until Cohn fell in love with Brett, he was unremarkable. Before Brett, Cohn didnt say or do anything that might make him unusual or memorable. Jake offers the detail of Cohns tennis game: before he met Brett, Cohn loved to win at tennis and was very competitive; after he met Brett, he lost to people who he would never have lost to before, and he lost very politely.
Jake returns to the scene with Cohn at the Select, and Frances arrives. She makes a few nervous comments, and then asks Jake to take a brief walk with her to a nearby caf. She confides in Jake that she thinks Cohn doesnt want to marry her anymore because Cohn doesnt think that hes lived enough. She complains that shes waited more than two years for Cohn, and that hes in a much better position than she is, and that she might not have any chance to marry and have children now. She says that she thinks that Cohn is avoiding marriage because he wants to be single when his second book comes out so that he can enjoy his success again.
They return to Cohn, and Frances begins to make cruel remarks about Cohn and his plans. She mentions that she is going to England to visit friends, and that Cohn is giving her some money. She brings up a secretary that Cohn had on his magazine in the United States and how she made Cohn get rid of the secretary out of jealousy. Then she tells Cohn not to write about scenes with young women, because he cant keep from crying. Finally, she says that she understands why he doesnt want to marry her. If they never marry, then Cohn can claim her as a mistress, she says, which is something that she says he has always wanted. At this point, Jake excuses himself and sneaks out the back. As he leaves, he notices that Frances is still talking to Cohn.
Chapter VII
When Jake gets back to his flat, the concierge gives him a message from Brett that she and the Count were there to see him and will be returning shortly. The concierge seems to have a changed opinion of Brett, and says that she is of a very good family. Jake goes up to his flat to bathe and change. They come while he is finishing his shower, and he lets Brett and the Count in while he dresses. The Count brings roses, and they admit to giving the concierge a sizeable amount of money for the trouble she caused the night before. Brett gets drinks while Jake dresses. Then she enters his room while he is changing. She kisses him and offers to send the Count away. He says no, but she insists. She leaves for a moment and comes back, saying that she sent the Count for champagne. When the Count is gone, Jake asks if he and Brett could live together, but she says that she would just cheat on him (she uses the French word “tromper”). Jake asks if they could just go off in the country for a while. She says no, because she is going to San Sebastian for a while, and Michael is coming back.
Jake dresses, and they soon hear the Count returning with champagne. They drink the champagne and talk, with the Count sharing his interest in wine, cigars, and Brett. The Count shows his scar from an arrow, and talks briefly about the breadth of his experience. They go to dinner in the Bois, and the Count asks them why they dont get married. They both say something about wanting independence. They enjoy some brandy after dinner, and then go to Zellis, a jazz club with a black drummer leading the band. Jake and Brett dance, and Brett seems to know the drummer. After a while, they go and talk to the Count for a few minutes about Zizi, the Greek painter who introduced them. They dance again, and Jake has a strange feeling of something that has happened before; Brett announces to him that shes miserable, and they decide to go. As they are talking about this, the drummer seems to be singing (strangely represented in the text as “..”). They leave the Count in Zellis and take his car. As they leave him, Jake looks back and sees three women around the Count.
Jake and Brett take the car to her hotel, and she tells Jake that she doesnt want him to come up. They kiss, and say goodbye, and kiss again. Jake takes the car to his flat and tips the driver.
Analysis, Chapters V – VII
The Count seems to be one of the few characters who is allowed to know that Jake and Brett are in love, though he also does not know about Jakes wound. The Counts wound, unlike Jakes, has not made him unhappy or frustrated. The Count also seems to get what he wants. He enjoys eating, drinking wine, cigars, and, apparently, women like Brett. Though he doesnt seem to achieve the success that Jake does with Brett, he quickly acquires three more women in Zellis as soon as Jake and Brett leave him, apparently suggesting that he usually has no trouble in this arena either.
This series of events with Cohn, too, sets up an important complexity in Cohns attitude toward the world. Though Cohn seems bored with Paris, and though he thinks he will be bored with bullfighting, he has a surprising interest in Brett. Francess attack in the caf doesnt dissuade him from this interest.
But the primary interest in this section, though, is in Brett. She seems to pursue and be pursued by Jake despite the mutual frustration at the inevitable failure. She seems to parade her ability to acquire men of all shapes and sizes, though it is unclear whether she does so out of unthinking insensitivity or deliberate cruelty.